20 Minor Magical Effects of the Mournland

These minor magical effects are almost all bad, but can be exploited by clever players. Inspired by cantrips and first level spells but with nasty twists. You can roll 1d20 to add a bit of chaos to a situation, or you can pick and choose based on the type of challenge you want to add to an adventure or location.

  1. Acid Pools: This area’s standing water has turned to clear acid. Most items and structures in the area are obviously corroded or dissolved, as is most organic matter. Small puddles do 1d6 acid damage, streams and ponds 2d6, and larger bodies of water 3d6 per round to anyone who enters them. An empty glass vial or clay pot can be used to create one flask of acid.
  1. The Bells: A bell starts tolling as soon as any character or monster enters the area, alerting any wandering monsters that are familiar with the effect. This lasts for 10 minutes. It may come from a ruined temple or watchtower, or the sound might seem to come from deep underground. The area’s other inhabitants will be on alert, but the characters can also get early warning if they rest in this area.
  1. Werelights: Flickering lights appear and disappear in this area, apparently attracted to living creatures. Any creature attempting to use Stealth or the Hide action in the area has disadvantage on their check. Constructs and undead are not affected.  
  1. Whispers of the Past: The dead in this area have one last phrase on their lips. Anyone who touches a body (i.e. to search it) or puts their ear close to the lips of a corpse might hear a short phrase. Most of these are calls for loved ones, but players might be able to identify someone’s family or lover and return their effects. Players must pass a DC10 Wisdom check to rest in this area, or be disturbed by strange whispers all night. 
  1. Minor Illusion: There is a slight falseness to this place, strange sounds like scratching, singing or sobbing echo, and shadows flicker on the edge of your vision. Characters must pass a DC 10 Intelligence save or become so distracted and paranoid, they have disadvantage on Initiative checks.
  1. Hail Storm: Howling winds suddenly spring up to drive jagged fist-sized lumps of gray ice across the wastes. This lasts for 1d4 hours. Anyone caught outside in the storm has their speed reduced and takes 1d6 cold damage for every ten minutes they are outside.
  1. Chaos Stones: Glistening gem stones, spikes of strange crystals or crystalized fruits gleam in the gloom. Anyone touching one of the stones must roll 3d6, successfully taking the stone if two dice have the same value (dice total x10 gp). If they fail, they take 3d8 acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison or thunder damage (roll 1d6 or choose the type). 
  1. Lingering Mists: The mists of the Mourning still haunt this area in a thick bank of gray mist. The mists provide total concealment, and also muffle other senses to within 30 feet. Tremorsense is not affected. 
  1. Vile Residue: The bodies of many of those who died in this area appear to have dissolved or been boiled alive, leaving only clothing, bones and a sticky, fatty residue behind. Rooms or other enclosed spaces with multiple bodies in them are slippery with this vile residue, and characters who move through these areas (to look for salvage on the bodies, for instance) must make a DC10 Dex save or fall prone in the slime. Any checks to shove a character or monster are made with advantage.
  1. I Can Fly: Walking in this area feels very strange, as though your body could fly up into the sky at any moment. All creatures in the area are under the effect of the Jump spell, but have an overpowering urge (DC 10 Charisma Save, +1 to the DC for every 10 feet to fall, counts as a charm) to throw themselves off tall obstacles if they start their turn near a drop. 
  1. Poison Spring: Rain falls in a constant drizzle here, soaking the land and filling cracks and pits with clear water. Drinking this water deals 2d8 poison damage. In addition, any creatures who come into contact with the water must make a DC 10 Constitution save or become poisoned for 8 hours. 
  1. Silent Stalker: Something is following you, something from your nightmares. This illusionary beast can be any Huge or smaller creature, but it typically resembles a ghostly figure, a very big spider, or a flying monster such as a Roc or Dragon. It avoids getting too close, instead appearing briefly before retreating. Characters who react to the apparition as though it were real can become frightened (DC 10 Wisdom save). 
  1. Lying with the Dead: A wave of tired hopelessness washes over you. Shouldn’t  you just give up and rest? Every 10 minutes, characters must pass a DC 12 Charisma save or start to sleep on the ground. Should they find a bed, open grave or coffin, they must make a DC 16 save or try to enter it and sleep. This state only lasts until they are shaken awake or take damage. Characters that do not need to sleep are immune to this effect.
  1. Sounds of Thunder: Booming sounds echo across this crater-filled wasteland. Any creature traveling through must make a DC 13 Wisdom (Survival) check for every 30 feet they travel or take 2d8 thunder damage. 
  1. Be Our Guest: A mansion, coaching house or other property still seems to be in business, staffed by invisible servants. This is a safe place to rest, although the food and drink provided is not fit for most people to eat ( DC 15 Constitution save or become poisoned). 
  1. Vile Humors: Sickly growths warp the plants and creatures of this area, even the corpses of the dead. Disturbing the dead, or killing a warped creature, releases a miasma that causes 2d8 poison damage to anyone within 5 feet, who must also make a DC 12 Constitution save or become poisoned for the next minute (save at the end of each round to end early). 
  1. Rain of Fire: The fog clouds above grow red and burning embers begin to rain down like fireflies, starting small fires in anything flammable below. This lasts for 1d6 hours. For every 10 minutes that the characters are outside shelter, they take 1d10 fire damage and must make a DC 10 Dexterity save to avoid going on fire for 1d4 additional fire damage (this damage is cumulative). 
  1. Fractured Reality: Nothing is quite stable here. Objects are dirty one moment and sparkling the next, flames wink in and out of existence, doors and windows close or open without a sound,  and each mouthful of food or water tastes unpleasant in different ways. It is impossible to maintain a fire in this area, and resting is very hard. Players must pass a DC13 Wisdom check to rest in this area. 
  1. Back To Rust: A thin red mist fills this area, and most iron or steel items are badly degraded or reduced to piles of rust. Every hour the characters spend in this mist, all non-magical metal objects they possess rust, taking a cumulative -1 to hit, damage or AC. If this penalty reaches -5, the object is destroyed. Small items, such as buttons, buckles and ball bearings, are destroyed after 1 hour.
  1. Carpet of Flames: Fire! Hellfire! It rages over every surface, even on stone and water, but doesn’t burn anything or give off heat. Some areas are the color of ordinary flame, others are violet, green or blue. This entire area is brightly lit, but the flames provide light obscurement for anything low to the ground, such as a prone creature. 

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